The new owner of Longridge’s popular Palace Theatre has passed away.
Tony Hewitt, founder and executive chairman of the Parkwood Group, died aged 68 on New Year’s Eve (December 31) after being admitted to hospital.
Tony, a resident in the Longridge area, bought the historic town cinema last December after it was put up for sale in July 2017 for £300,000.
A spokesman from the Parkwood Group said: “Tony was enthusiastic and passionate, with boundless energy, and he will be remembered as both a charismatic business leader and a loving family man.
“As we honour his memory, we thank him for the invaluable contribution he has made to the green space management and horticulture industry over the past 25 years.”
They added: “Tony was extremely proud of the Parkwood family of companies he dedicated his time to developing. His strong desire to leave behind a lasting legacy was realised through the creation of strong management teams to lead the businesses he nurtured.
“The businesses will continue to operate as normal, just as Tony wanted. The Parkwood Group remains in the ownership of the Hewitt family who are committed to continuing Tony’s legacy.
“We request that the privacy of Tony’s family is respected at this difficult time, and our thoughts remain with them.”
Tony leaves behind his wife, Patricia, and three children Daniel, Amy, and Lara.
Before Christmas, the News reported that Tony’s 35-year-old daughter Lara was set to take over the management side of the cinema from previous owner Dorothy Williamson.
In a Facebook post on January 5, a spokesman for the Palace Cinema said that the cinema will remain closed while the handover to the new owners takes place.